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Scientists identify cancer specific cell for potential treatment of gastric cancer
Date:4/23/2014

A team of scientists led by a researcher from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore has identified the cancer specific stem cell which causes gastric cancer. This discovery opens up the possibility of developing new drugs for the treatment of this disease and other types of cancers.

The research group, led by Dr Chan Shing Leng, Research Assistant Professor at CSI Singapore, demonstrated for the first time that a cancer-specific variant of a cell surface protein, CD44v8-10, marks gastric cancer stem cells but not normal cells. Conceptualised by Dr Chan and Associate Professor Jimmy So, a Senior Consultant from the Department of Surgery at the National University Hospital Singapore, the study is also the first to be conducted with human gastric tissue specimens and took five years to complete. This novel study will be published in the research journal Cancer Research, the official journal of American Association of Cancer Research, in May 2014.

Gastric cancer is a major cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, with low survival and high recurrence rates for patients with advanced disease. New therapies for the treatment of gastric cancer are urgently needed.

How CD44v8-10 serves as a biomarker

Many cancer cell types express high levels of a cell surface protein known as CD44. This protein marks cancer stem cells that are thought to be responsible for resistance to current cancer therapy and tumour relapse. There are many forms of CD44 and the standard form of CD44, CD44s, is found in high abundance on normal blood cells. It was previously not known which form of CD44 is found on cancer stem cells. This is critical as an ideal cancer target should mark only cancer cells but not normal cells.

Research by the team and other scientists in the field has led to the hypothesis that the growth of gastric cancer may be driven by cancer stem cells. In
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Contact: Kimberley Wang
kimberley.wang@nus.edu.sg
National University of Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

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